Bush and the Guard: Tapdancing in dookie


So the lazy media is finally waking up to the fact that Bush is not their friend but is and surrounds himself with people who lie, lie, lie. This National Guard mess is so much fun to watch, and seeing Bush spokesman Dan Bartlett tapdance in dookie is the best part. Apparently, we can't know what a person thinks, unless they're alive!

I'm not going to regurgitate the entire episode for ya. Here's the abstract.


  • Bush's dada pulled strings to get him in the Texas Air National Guard and out of Vietnam
  • Bush served for a while, but was getting into too much Texas trouble so close to home, so dada called in another favor: send him to Alabama to work on a congressional campaign
  • With his Guard duty unfulfilled, Bush seeks transfer to Alabama guard and repeatedly lies on his form about the plane he can fly. He intentionally seeks a unit that doesn't have his plane so he doesn't have to fly in Bama
  • Once in the Bama, Shrub loafs around as usual while John Kerry charges up the Mekong Delta like Rambo. Shrub contributes little to the campaign and bails on his Guard requirements
  • Shrubby misses an important but simple physical exam and tries to weasel his way out of drills
  • Probably due to another dada hookup, the Busharino moves back home to New England (don't let the accent fool ya. He's a New Englander!) to attend Harvard Business School
  • With Guard service to go, he's supposed to register with a Massachusetts unit, but fails to do so


We know the rest. He drinks and shoots coke for the next 15-20 years, burns through business investor's money like an H2 Hummer running on Saudi oil, stumbles upon a job managing the Texas Rangers, probably sees Texas' most popular Governor Ann Richardson, and thinks, "Hey, I can do that." Did I forget to thank the state of Texas for giving us Shrubby?

Back to the Guard and what I find so interesting.

At a time when John Kerry most certainly did fight in Vietnam and did save lives and we argue about how many medals he should have gotten, Bush weaseled his way into the then safe-haven of the Guard and managed to screw that up in three ways:


  • He violated a direct order to take a physical
  • He failed to meet Air National Guard performance standards
  • He failed to fulfill his Guard term by not registering in Mass.


Still with me? Good.

In the years since he managed to pressure out an honorable discharge (that's again Poppy), Shrubalicious and his handlers have employed an increasingly brazen set of lies and obstructions to hide the truth. They disappeared official documents like they were leftist activists in Central America. They silenced truthtellers, and they just made shit up.

"Bush didn't have to take the physical because he was no longer flying."

That was a common one. Nevermind the fact that his not-flying was a deliberate manipulation on his part. Dude had already gotten a free ride, but it wasn't good enough. It's like crashing at a friend's place instead of getting your own pad, then clogging the toilet... every day.

Also, since when did soldiers decide which orders to follow and not follow? The word is out kiddies: if you don't believe in the war in Iraq, just don't go! Those orders from the chain of command? Just a suggestion, kinda like stop lights and the Bill of Rights.

And, look. It was just a physical! Who, besides children and dogs are so opposed to visiting the doctor? Well, I can think of at least one other group of people that would act so desperately to avoid having blood taken: drug addicts. There, I said it. Everybody knows Bush inhaled the white stuff like Sally Struthers inhales Third World children. And it explains the whole shebang. Why risk so much by violating a direct military order unless you're high, or were high recently enough that they might sniff it out. Besides, drugs runs in the family. Not too long ago, Jeb's daughter got her hands on two grams of crack while in a treatment facility. And we all know the Bush twins take regular trips to the mountains of Busch beer.

But here's the part that really gets me. I know I've rambled, but this is a good one. Bush has a man on the payroll named Dan Bartlett. He's kind of a special spokesman who's only job seems to be defending Bush's National Guard "service." He's the consiglieri for military bullshit, basically.

Bartlett has danced quite a dance over the years. He's claimed that all the documents were released, yet somehow new documents just kept showing up, or does it depend on what the meaning of the word "all" is? Hmmm.

In his latest jig, Bartlett has a more difficult task, however. The documents that CBS released this week included official military records as well as memos, all from Bush's now-deceased superior Jerry Killian. In addition to undeniably documenting Bush's failure to fulfill his duties (in the official documents), Killian writes in personal memos that Bush tried to get out of drills and that he was under pressure to give Bush good marks when he didn't deserve it.

Here's where Bartlett dances in pooh, an excerpt from his interview with CBS:



CBS: What about these two official documents signed by Jerry Killian is rumor and innuendo?

DAN BARTLETTT: Well, it's impossible for anybody to read the mind of a dead man.

...

Q: All right. Now, this goes to Killian's personal file -- I want to point that out. A couple of points that he makes -- he says that the President has come to him to talk about how he can "get out of coming to drill," suggesting that he's trying to avoid something. He also says that he advised the future President of the Air National Guard's investment in him and his commitment to the Air National Guard, which Killian seemed to suggest he would be shirking if he were to transfer out.

DAN BARTLETTT: For anybody to try to interpret or presume they know what somebody who is now dead was thinking in any of these memos, I think is very difficult to do

...

Q: Also, one other opinion, and again, an opinion, in a memo titled "CYA" that Killian wrote to himself that he believed that there was pressure coming from upstairs, General Staudt, of the Air National Guard, to "sugarcoat" the President's record, and that Killian wasn't about to do that.

DAN BARTLETTT: Well, again, it was Colonel Killian at the time who approved, as did other members in the chain of command, President Bush's service, approved his drills, approved -- gave him permission to go to Alabama.

Again, we are trying to read the mind of somebody who has been dead for more than 10 years.

...

Q: Killian writes that he was backdating the Officer Efficiency Training report. Anything irregular about that?

DAN BARTLETTT: Well, again, these are cryptic lines of saying, backdate, won't rate these things. Again, what we're asked to do is to try to read the mind of somebody who is no longer with us.


So now we get to the latest tapdance, the newest spin, the "message" if you will tolerate such politicalspeak. Kids, today's message is (say it with me now): "WE CAN'T READ THE MIND OF A DEAD MAN"

We're gonna hear a lot more about this difficult, dead man, mind-reading, but just think about it. Are we really trying to read Killian's mind? Do we have to dig up his body and plug electrodes into his head? Will we be hiring a psychic? No, no, no. How about this? How about instead of reading his mind, we read his written words? Just a thought.

Unless Bartlett is saying, we can't even glean the meaning of words written by someone who's been dead "more than 10 years." That's a pretty loud bigotry of low expectations. Oh, and it also happens to be complete bullshit.

If Barlett is right, then we can't have any idea what the Founding Fathers meant when they wrote the Constitution. None. We just have to take it all off the table because "how can we read the minds of people who've been dead for, not just 10, but hundreds of years???"

Shakespeare? I have no idea what those plays could be about. Sorry English grad students, but those dissertations? Toss `em.

What about the instruction manual I have for my 12-year old television. I thought it still worked, but then I called Hitachi, and it turns out the guy who wrote it, he died one year after penning that great work. I guess I'll have to just get a new TV, because how can I possibly fathom what those words mean without Hitachi employee #257's direct input?

All military documents, descriptions, narratives written by people dead over 10 years? Nada. What could they possibly mean? The Battle of Waterloo. Water-who.

I could go on about the history books, biographies, and memoirs. After 10 years, we gotta re-write all that shit because it's just too much of a stretch to understand.

This creates quite a problem. We'll probably have to create some sort of official government agency to make sure we get the authorized versions of all these words. Some sort of Ministry of Truth could be just the thing!

But until then, I guess we'll have to trust Mr. Dan Bartlett, at least until he's been dead for 10 years.

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This has been a ramble by Baratunde for goodCRIMETHINK.
Good followup reading here and, sadly, the press corps still hasn't grilled the White House. Just search for "Guard" over here